The previous issue of this journal (Volume 27, Issue 1) contained articles on 12 “crucial criminologies”—12 different perspectives within critical criminology: cultural criminology; ultra-realism; feminist criminology; intersectional criminology; peacemaking criminology; green criminology; convict criminology; deviant leisure; narrative criminology; queer criminology; southern criminology; and visual criminology. Several of the articles in this issue (Volume 27, Issue 2) serve as examples of the depth and vitality of these perspectives, while others tackle key topics of critical criminological scholarship: crimes of the powerful, drugs, and incarceration (including the collateral consequences of conviction and imprisonment).
The first article, “A Peacemaking Approach to Desistance from Crime” (2019), by Glen A. Ishoy and Nathan E. Kruis, challenges the criticism that peacemaking lacks testable hypotheses and realistic policy implications by examining the applicability of peacemaking ideas to the mechanisms associated with desistance from crime. Ishoy and Kruis argue that the process of desistance shares similarities with peacemaking ideas and may provide an avenue for testing some of the core propositions of the peacemaking perspective. The authors propose a model that depicts the relationships between variables that have been observed in the desistance literature and examine how they relate to the peacemaking perspective, before offering some policy implications of their ideas and findings. In so doing, Ishoy and Kruis speak to Randall Amster’s (2019) article in Volume 27, Issue 1, which builds upon traditions in criminology that highlight the restorative, transformative and peacemaking potentials inherent in constructions of crime and the processes used to address it, and which argues for a proactive and constructive vision of peacebuilding that encompasses mechanisms for imperative implementation.
In the second article, “Decolonising Criminology: Syed Hussein Alatas on Crimes of the Powerful” (2019), Leon Moosavi exposes the “Westerncentrism” of criminology—how criminology, like the other social sciences, has marginalized or otherwise ignored non-Western criminological scholarship, such as that of the Malaysian intellectual, Syed Hussein Alatas (1928–2007), whose work, Moosavi argues, deserves greater recognition by those researching “crimes of the powerful.” In so doing, Moosavi not only contributes to the ongoing efforts to decolonize criminology (as expressed by Ball (2019) and Carrington and colleagues (2019) in Volume 27, Issue 1), but sets the stage for the third article, Daniel Patten’s “Criminogenic Policy as a Crime of the Powerful: A Case Study on NAFTA’s Negotiation Process” (2019).
In “Abject (M)Othering: A Narratological Study of the Prison as an Abject and Uncanny Institution” (2019), the fourth article in this issue, Tea Fredriksson undertakes a narratological analysis of the gothicity of prison autobiographies, drawing on cultural criminology’s interest in engaging with the socially constructed meanings which underpin issues of crime and control to investigate how prison comes across as a culturally constructed imaginary. Fredriksson’s article resonates with both Jonathan Ilan’s “Cultural Criminology: The Time is Now” (2019) and Lois Presser and Sveinung Sandberg’s “Narrative Criminology as Critical Criminology” (2019) in Volume 27, Issue 1. Fredriksson’s article also provides a nice segue to the fifth article, “The Reproduction of Social Disadvantage Through Educational Demobilization: A Critical Analysis of Parental Incarceration” (2019), by Marcus Shaw, which explores the intergenerational consequences of the era of mass incarceration and its role in promoting an educational demobilization of primarily marginalized groups, and to the sixth article, “Going Back to College? Criminal Stigma in Higher Education Admissions in Northeastern U.S.” (2019), by Douglas N. Evans, Jason Szkola and Victor St. John, which examines the extent to which education is accessible for individuals with felonious nonviolent records in the United States (US).
Such experiences of prison (which Fredriksson describes as “a living tomb” and “a site of horrors”)—and the impact that prison has on both families of the incarcerated and on formerly incarcerated individuals—occur, in large part, from draconian policies and discriminatory policing practices. The seventh article, Cindy Brooks Dollar’s “Criminalization and Drug “Wars” or Medicalization and Health “Epidemics”: How Race, Class, and Neoliberal Politics Influence Drug Laws” (2019), argues that race and class influence drug laws through politicized means, discussing the legislative responses to crack cocaine, methamphetamine and opiate misuse, and revealing how and why certain responses are instituted for certain forms of drug use. Sarah Tosh’s “Drugs, Crime, and Aggravated Felony Deportations: Moral Panic Theory and the Legal Construction of the ‘Criminal Alien’” (2019)—the eighth article in this issue—analyzes how the “aggravated felony” legal category, which emerged from a punitive turn in crime, drug and immigration policy that occurred in the US in the 1980s and 1990s, has provided the basis for the removal of thousands of immigrants each year. The ninth article, “‘We are Seen as a Threat’: Police Stops of Young Ethnic Minorities in the Nordic Countries” (2019), by Randi Solhjell, Elsa Saarikkomäki, Mie Birk Haller, David Wästerfors and Torsten Kolind, focuses on the perspectives of young ethnic minorities in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden who have experienced various forms of “police stops”—situations where the police have stopped them without any reference to a specific event of which the youth are aware. Inspired by an intersectionality approach (which Kathryn Henne and Emily I. Troshynski describe in Volume 27, Issue 1, in “Intersectional Criminologies for the Contemporary Moment: Crucial Questions of Power, Praxis and Technologies of Control” (2019)), Solhjell and colleagues explicate how the young men they studied are often forced to think about themselves in terms of “a threat” to the majority and how various attributes and “social markers” make them seem like criminals. This discussion of the “problem of police” (see McClanahan and Brisman 2017) continues with Kevin Walby’s “Exploring Police Violence: A Review Essay” (2019)—the first of three book reviews, which serve as the final pages of this issue.
- McClanahan, B., & Brisman, A. (2017). Police violence and the failed promise of human rights. In Leanne Weber, Elaine Fishwick, & Marinella Marmo (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of criminology and human rights (pp. 333–341). London: Routledge.Google Scholar